Organize Tomorrow Today helps us with habit-changing. Here are three stages in making or breaking a habit:
The Honeymoon Stage
You have decided to make or break a habit. The first few days are usually easy, hence the word “honeymoon.” For me, it is writing these articles. I love to teach; however, writing is another story. When I decided to do this book summary, writing the first article came fairly easy. However, as I write this article today, I am actually on vacation. Yes, I am writing during my vacation because the honeymoon stage has faded away and now I am in the next stage.
The Fight-thru Stage
This stage is when I realized that the “easier said than done” reality kicks in. I need to make this habit of writing a second nature. Here is how I can make this happen:
- Make it a ritual. I cannot leave writing to chance or procrastination will take over. I need to set the same time, every day to write.
- Recognize. In this step, I realize that making a habit takes time and it is hard work. There will be times when I want to give up (always) and instead I must remind myself that it is important to win ….today. I cannot worry about tomorrow – I just need to write today. I’ll let tomorrow take care of itself. This is called the “fight-thru” stage. If I can just get through today, then my next fight-thru (tomorrow) will be easier (I hope). But, if it is really difficult, then I can take the next action.
- Ask two questions. This is when the tough time comes and I will coach myself with two questions. I will ask myself: “Joan, how will you feel if you lose?” This question definitely will bring emotion into the equation, which is a valuable kind of fuel. My next question will also be an emotional one, “How will I feel if I win this fight-thru?” Well, you guessed it; I’d feel great and probably motivated for tomorrow. Both the negative and the positive question will help propel me.
- Life Projection. This is when I use my imagination. I take 30 seconds and I think in great detail about where my life will be in five years if I make this change and consistently win. Now this is a powerful motivator for me!
Second Nature Stage
Here is the success stage. After I have won a series of fight-thrus, it starts to become easier and part of my routine. I feel great. When I think about this stage, it makes me think of a success story I had several years ago – and I am still successful! Several years ago we got our dog “Winnie”. I wanted to be a good dog owner, so I decided that I would make it a habit to walk “Winnie” every morning, regardless of weather or work commitment. So, every morning, regardless if it is raining or sunny or snowing….I walk my dog. If I have to catch an early flight in the morning, I will faithfully get up at 3 a.m. to walk “Winnie” because of this established habit. It has become my second nature.
Habit changing is tough work
The authors do warn us about the “discouragement monster”, that can sap our willingness to keep trying. Sometimes, just recognizing that this happen and recognize that I can backslide, I will then choose to do “a little bit more, for a little while.” For me, this might mean that my furry little four legged friend gets two walks on the same day. Lucky Winnie! Successful Joan.